Links 11/25/17

This Cat And Dog Love Travelling Together, And Their Pictures Are Absolutely Epic Bored Panda. Yes, clickbait headline, but the photos really are terrific.

Ice Apocalypse: Rapid collapse of Antarctic glaciers could flood coastal cities by the end of this century Grist (David L)

How Scientists Who Study Corals Are Coping With the Death of Reefs Atlantic (Chuck L)

Old, meet new: Drones, high-tech camera revamp archaeology PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Why wave power may be the next big thing in green energy NBC (David L)

High-speed quantum encryption may help secure the future internet PhysOrg (David L)

Eating non-GMO foods Actually Improves ones Health International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine (Glenn F). The study quality is crap. Self-reported improvement (as in no objective measures), high likelihood of bias among respondents, and no controls.

Tai Chi Chuan and Baduanjin Mind-Body Training Changes Resting-State Low-Frequency Fluctuations in the Frontal Lobe of Older Adults: A Resting-State fMRI Study. National Institute for Health (David L) Aaargh. Way too small a study to conclude anything: “21 in the TCC group, 16 in the Baduanjin group, and 25 in the control group”. Plus they selected people who had not exercised regularly in the past year.


Why China’s three-step approach won’t be enough to solve the Rohingya crisis South China Morning Post (furzy)

Risky stalemate as science battles human fears at Fukushima Associated Press

Chancellor Angela Merkel moves left as German politics realign DW


Why have the Tories brought Gove back from the dead? To kill him again Guardian (PlutoniumKun)

Brexit roadblockTusk issues May deadline to solve Irish border issue if Britain wants talks breakthrough Telegraph. Only the UK press could depict this as a new development.

If you’re all so poor, how come the pubs are so bloody full? by Philip Hammond Daily Mash

The Refugee Scandal on the Island of Lesbos Der Spiegel


Egypt hunts for killers after mosque attack leaves at least 235 dead CNN

Egypt vows forceful response after attack BBC

Is MBS’s supreme anti-corruption committee torturing Ritz detainees? Asia Times:

…reports of beatings and torture of Saudi princes, former ministers, and leading businessmen held in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton hotel and the nearby Courtyard Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter on allegations of corruption have been coming to light since at least November 10.

Cross-checking of such reports and independent verification with diplomatic sources by now provides a high degree of confidence that torture has been taking place to extract admissions of guilt and – more important – to extract funds in the billions of dollars.

The U.S. Military as a Zionist Organization Jewish Policy Center (Wat S)

Saudi crown prince calls Iran’s supreme leader ‘new Hitler’ Agence France Presse (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Staggering Variety of Clandestine Trackers Found In Popular Android Apps Intercept

privacy not included: A Guide to Make Shopping for Connected Gifts Safer, Easier, and Way More Fun Mozilla

Trump Transition

Koch Lobbyists and Opus Dei — Who’s Dropping in on… ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Battle Rages Over CFPB Interim Leadership Wall Street Journal

Sessions reshapes Justice Dept. while eyes are on Russia Washington Post

‘Women are pissed’: Trump protest turns to action – and surge in female candidates Guardian (resilc)

Net Neutrality

From an Open Internet, Back to the Dark Ages Counterpunch

Tax “Reform”

GOP deficit hawks fear tax plan is secret budget-buster Politico

Five things to watch in the new Keystone fight The Hill

Bloomberg “the unofficial leader of the opposition” Telegraph. Lambert: “First I’ve heard. Squillionaires, apparently, positioning themselves. Steyer, the Kochs, Cuban…”

Democrats in Disarray

How Dem insiders rank the 2020 contenders The Hill

‘Doug Jones’s problem’: Alabama’s Senate race is failing to energize black voters Washington Post

Only in America

NFL Considering New Rule To Keep Players In The Locker Rooms During The National Anthem Jonathan Turley

Whitefish Energy won’t finish its work in Puerto Rico until it’s paid $83 million. Grist

The Heartbreaking Rise of Abortion Clinic Closures Is Already Affecting Women’s Constitutional Rights Truthout. Only part of the story. Med schools in the US are no longer teaching how to do abortions.

Uber: the clean-up after Kalanick continues Financial Times

Guillotine Watch

Mobile Homes Are So Expensive Now, Hurricane Victims Can’t Afford Them Bloomberg (Chuck L)

Jeff Bezos’s Net Worth Just Broke $100 Billion Bloomberg (resilc)

Class Warfare

Can’t Wait Until Payday? Apps Give Instant Access to Wages Wall Street Journal

The ‘masculine mystique’ – why men can’t ditch the baggage of being a bloke Guardian. One of my pet issues: how stubborn gender role stereotyping is.

Uber to submit application to Supreme Court over employment ruling Independent

Happily gentrifying since 2014′: Denver coffee shop sign sparks fury Guardian (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour. Lord Koos: “This photo was taken in a Seattle park.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Meher Baba Fan

    Apologies I cant link. Brexit news. Guardian reports England due to have a city as an EU Cultural Capital in 2023. EU says, well sorry that your cities spent 100grand on the bid but you won’t be in the EU then. England government kicking up the biggest fuss ‘insisting’ without being able to explain why they are still entitled – instead quoting the numbers on it boosting economy etc. As reported in Guardian yesterday

    1. PlutoniumKun

      This article I think you mean. I find it sort of odd that the government acts all shocked, don’t they realise how stupid they make themselves look? If I was a Brexiter I’d be pushing for a high profile ‘alternative’ city of culture prize as a distraction.

      1. Christopher Dale Rogers

        Its a bit more complex than that, basically the Consultancy running at least two of the bids for UK cities actually knew about this fact after the July 2016 Brexit vote, namely that once A50 triggered the UK would be illegible, alas, they still took the money and failed to advise those employing their services that their bids were a fallacy – there will probably be a legal case to get some funds back and much wringing of hands.

      2. UserFriendly

        A little bit more complicated than that.

        Under EU law, the UK government was obliged to launch the competition to find the candidate cities once in the process or face a possible fine.

  2. Pogonip

    I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!

    Yves, I know you don’t have much, if any, control over the ads, but I couldn’t help being amused that right below “Class Warfare” was an ad hawking a saucepan-and-skillet set for a mere $200.

    1. Clive

      Outside of broad categories which are veto’ed by Yves, such as tacky obviously semi-scams (and ads which use in-yer-face whole-screen pops) there’s limited fine-tuning which ad services provide.

      Because, talking of scams, if you want to suppress certain types of ad and have more context sensitivity, you’re up against the same bad actors (like Google) who charge a small fortune to companies which want above all else to get their ads where they want them. A small ad service user, like Naked Capitalism, is more-or-less powerless in the face of that simple economics.

      I got a rare insight into this as my TBTF was planning a product refresh and I had to sign off on a technical aspect of the product identifiers. These needed a little back-end jiggery-pokery (otherwise I wouldn’t have got involved in the marketing side of things). I was staggered at the hoops the ad services make the ad purchasers jump through (I can’t go into all the details) but the denouement was that you get to place your ad exactly where you want it. Only in exceptional situations would a paid-for ad which wanted to display itself in the target contexts would not be displayed.

      By the way, if you’re getting 200 bucks a go pan sets pushed at you, then there’ll be stuff in your browsing or search history (or the profile history on the device / account you’re accessing the Web through) prompting this. You don’t have any clandestine hipster leanings to bring out the closet, do you? :-)

      If it’s any consolation, for weeks I had silk boxer shorts follow me round Naked Capitalism. I couldn’t imagine wearing anything worse. And every time I saw the ad, I couldn’t help ponder questions like “how do you wash them? Surely you don’t have to have them dry cleaned all the time?” There was also some bizzare adjustable belt thingy, which was a wheel being reinvented if I ever saw one. Some California start-up was behind that. I was kind-of intrigued, because I’m barely a 30-32″ waist and I can’t get decent belts that fit. But they were like $50 or something, so I thought sod that.

        1. Andrew Watts

          You really shouldn’t. I’ve seen some pretty amusing ads on NC every now then. My favorite was for RPG-7 practice rounds and high grade body armor. Another good one which gave me a laugh was from a CIA recruitment ad for language specialists.

          I have no idea why the mighty ad algorithm would think I’d be interested in that stuff, but I’m entertained by it all the same.

          1. Craig H.

            I constantly get ads for women’s clothing and pet supplies. My conclusion is I am too freaky for their clustering algorithm to profile. It can’t be that stupid. Can it?

          2. UserFriendly

            My favorite NC add was one to vote for Trump just before the election. I screen capped it but it’s on my other computer.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Thanks for the donation but you are still hurting the site. Our ad sales are based on how many people view the ads, not just for immediate revenue purposes but also for the purpose of sales to prospective advertisers.

          We also leave a lot of revenue on the table by nixing a lot of obnoxious ads that have high payouts, like video ads, popups and “native” ads.

          1. Oregoncharles

            NC has very few ads compared to many sites. (Some are entertainingly ironic, but that’s the advertiser’s problem.) More like reading a magazine; most of those also have ads. The absence of pop-ups or self-play videos is a great relief; thanks. There are a couple of sites I monitor where it’s a constant battle just to see the material.

            1. clinical wasteman

              Thanks Oregoncharles, that’s more or less word for word what I was just about to say. The absence of audible/moving image/pop-up invasiveness on NC is hugely appreciated, & must already mean foregoing some $ for the site. Point about magazines is absolutely salient: aside from the fact that the ads are often no worse than the content (eg FT Weekend supplements), static print or screen advertising only pleads for attention without being able to commandeer it forcefully the way sound, movement & screen usurpation do. So if the publication/site is worth reading, it’s also probably worth the effort of averting eyes from whatever defaces it.
              Only exception I can think of — i.e. the one case where static ads really are unbearable — is on public transportation & street billboards, where the violence against language, the leering Role Models and the presumption of shared cultural references force themselves by repetition into the involuntary memory of millions of people who probably try not to look. Intently reading a book that drips with hostility to the posters’ aggressive conformism helps, but even then, by the 200th time you’ve seen the same one (or the 200th “different” one repeating the same excuse for an idea), some of the sheer normative smarm seeps through and the day goes gangrenous.
              I spent a lot of time … uh … modifying billboards/posters with stickers/other posters/marker pens about 15 years ago, before London’s ubiquitous cctv system was properly networked and potentially functional. So I was very pleased a couple of years back to meet a collective who do an amazing job of replacing entire billboards with very convincing looking but politically angry and usually funny parodies. I think their magazine is defunct now, but below are a couple of illustrated MSM articles. The group also sometimes run workshops on how to get away with it (simple answer: don’t be furtive — do it in broad daylight, looking like a min.-wage/zero-hours outsourcing crew in high-vis. clothing etc, and that’s what everyone, including cops and city officials, will assume you are.)

          2. Linda

            Shockingly, I found my new medical doctor from an ad on NC. It caught my eye because it named my small town. I stared at it several minutes thinking about how it might have known that’s where I live, and how it targeted that ad to me. Then I realized it interested me. :) Very happy with the dr.

          3. JBird

            And thank you for not having popups and videos! It’s really embarrassing to have some auto play ad start blaring at the library or some other quiet place.

      1. Pogonip

        Hello Clive!

        I looked up ratings on a $19.99 crock pot I was thinking of buying; not sure how the algorithm made the jump from that to $200 pans. But then Amazon periodically decides I’m black (I am not now nor have I ever been African-American) and, at 58, I still get catalogs from Victoria’s Secret. It’s reassuring to know the systems our owners have to built to track our every move are that faulty.

        1. Lee

          My parents, now deceased for ten and fifteen years respectively, still get occasional solicitations by mail, and I’m still fielding phone solicitations for my my ex from whom I was divorced eleven years ago.

          1. Kokuanani

            Our family’s favorite “unsolicited ads” story concerns an evening several years ago when we got a phone call asking for one of our dogs. [I used variations of their names when subscribing to magazines, to be able to tell which one had sold our name to the solicitors.]

            When he answered the phone, my husband responded — accurately, but without thinking — that “Katrina” was unavailable because she was “outside peeing in the snow.”

            The caller stammered and promised to call back at a more convenient time.

            1. Wukchumni

              I usually tell the unsolicited caller trying to sell something who asks for my wife, that she was deported to North Korea, and most are dullards that probably wonder if it’s next to North Carolina, but a few are curious and a little incredulous that such a thing could happen, and I tell them you can reach her @ PYOngyang 4869, to make it seem like they’re stuck in the 1950’s with old name prefixes for phone numbers.

              Another good one is to tell somebody trying to sell you stocks on the phone, that you wished they had called a few hours earlier, as you invested all your money with somebody else that called.

              1. Ned

                It’s more fun to incite them to riot against their employers.

                “My brother worked for a call center. He got around $20 an hour plus profit sharing. How much you getting? What’s your company name again? Oh yeah, I read about the owner of that company, he’s a billionaire. I sure hope he’s paying you a livable wage!”

                Or, you can have fun with globalism.
                “You want to sell me a $52 a month movie and sports channel program…?”
                “What? Netflix is nine bucks a month, listen I will consider your offer if you lower the price to no more than ten bucks a month. Your company fired thousands of workers to become more efficient. You’re competing with free on the internet, so make it a really globally competitive price like ten bucks and then feel free to call me back.”

                The next day I got a call and they offered me the program at twenty five dollars a month for one year as an introductory offer. I told them I didn’t have a TV, that kind of killed any further negotiation.

                By the way, if you are billed a late fee on credit cards, call them with a plausible excuse and ask for a waiver. The word I got from their Indian worker was “You said the magic words; ‘Late fee waiver’, we’ll be happy to give it to you since you asked.”

      2. TooSoonOld

        Clive, you can toss your silk shorts into the washer and dryer with everything else – I’ve been doing that with silk blouses for decades without any issues.

        Now you know.

        1. Clive

          Thanks for the tip! I’m always terrified of machine washing the few silk items I have (a shirt and some dressy socks I hardly wear). They’re so old now I’m past caring what happens to them, so the next load I do, they’ll go in as an experiment! I wash on the cool cycle, so they might be fine…

          1. Oregoncharles

            don’t put them in the drier – they dry very quickly on a line.

            Some silks tolerate washing, some don’t Any kind of embroidery won’t, so be careful about that.

          1. UserFriendly

            Silk is ok to wash, preferably on low spin and/or in one of those mesh garment bags so that it doesn’t get pulled apart. I’d dry on low in garment bag or hang dry.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Aha, as an apartment-dweller, I have washing machines in the basement and we don’t have many choices on these new but feature-poor commercial washers.

              1. UserFriendly

                Yeah, my first job, at 15, was at a laundromat. We did dry cleaning and wash and fold service, so despite being told to encourage dry cleaning for just about anything fancy I got a chance to notice what did and didn’t wash well. More often than not it’s how tight or lose the stitch is that really is the deciding factor. Most silks have a tight stitch, but even a lose one will probably survive in a garment bag. Almost everything I’ve seen a washer ruin would have been fine in a garment bag. Some synthetic fibers melt or pill in dryers and generally leather is best dry cleaned. Cashmere can be hit or miss based on how tight the stitch is. There are a couple of other exceptions too.

          2. Lee

            I wear silk long-johns for motorcycling. Gentle wash cycle and line dry works ok but they would probably last longer if hand washed. I love silk but there are now sheer microfibers that possess the feel and wicking capabilities of silk that are more durable. See products from Mountain Hardware, Ex Officio, and REI, for example.

            1. mpalomar

              Right, or hand washed and rolled in a towel and gently wrung and rack dried.
              Never a drying machine.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      That ad is almost certainly a Google “remnant” ad and is based on your site visits. So it look as it you’ve been checking out fancy kitchenware, or maybe fancy recipes.

  3. Meher Baba Fan

    Happily gentrifying since 2014 Denver coffee shop – link broken.
    The NYT link on Uber Breach from 23November still not working also :-)

      1. Ned

        What is the difference between white flight and gentrification?
        Why is one evil and the other evil when they are opposites?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      A lot of that shows up under “Trump Transition”. It is still “transition” because he has never gotten effective control of the Executive and he is regularly at war with the party, a lot of the time as a result of his own erraticness. He’s now basically a hostage of military types in the White House.

      1. jgordon

        With Trump it’s extremely difficult to differentiate between erratic and strategy. Obama played at being an 11th dimensional chess master while really only being a standard corrupt plutocrat, and not a particularly competent or effective one at that (though I do give him tremendous credit for not getting us into WWIII despite Hillary’s urgings).

        On the other hand Trump hams up being a buffoon but somehow always gets a lot done out of sight. Just look at what he’s doing with court appointees for example, all the while distracting us with seemingly impulsive and superficially incorrect tweets. Trump is a genius at making his enemies confused and mired with inconsequential side issues while keeping his real agenda under the radar and moving forward.

        1. InquiringMind

          The court appointees is a task outsourced to the Federalist Society.

          As for agencies and regulations, it’s easier to tear things down than build them up. Failing to appoint people to staff agencies is not hard to accomplish, if that’s your aim.

          Republicans have struck upon a great strategy of discrediting government by simply making sure that government is underfunded (hampered by silly funding limitations) & staffed by ideologues who oppose government action. Result: government inaction and ineffectiveness.

          Step two is to point out how ineffective government is, and thus how it deserves to be un-funded as a clear waste of money. Continue until you have a Donald Trump to really accelerate the process.

          (Some Republicans are getting queasy at the speed of the ride at this point, though).

  4. The Rev Kev

    Re If you’re all so poor, how come the pubs are so bloody full? by Philip Hammond
    Because Phil, when your government makes a dog’s breakfast of the economy and instead of seeking a united front on the Brexit negotiations, plays party games thus weakening your position to the Europeans you might as well go and have a **** up while you can. Don’t you know that a civilized man should always know when to get drunk?
    And come to think of it, aren’t you the same bloke who also said that banks were not solely responsible for the 2008 financial crisis as “they had to lend to someone” and that people who took out loans were “consenting adults” who, in some cases, were now seeking to blame others for their actions? And was it not last month that you said “Where are all these unemployed people? There are no unemployed people.”

    1. makedoanmend

      I pretty sure Mr. Hammond didn’t do his survey in my neighborhood. There are easily half the number of pubs there used to be, and half of the remaining ones are on shaky financial ground. Every year a few more bite the dust.

      Apart from the fact that going to the pub is too expensive for me, I don’t think I’ll likely be running into Mr. Hammond in any of the venues I so rarely am able to visit. Too full of plebs and poor people for his tastes, I’m sure.

      1. Christopher Dale Rogers

        In all fairness to Hammond, given he rarely gets out of Zone One in London, most public houses are indeed busy, however, the further out of inner London you get, the less locals can afford to actually visit Pubs, unless they are cheap Pubco’s like Weatherspoons, and even then, in certain depressed economic areas they even struggle – my own local Weatherspoons in Pontypool lasted about three years before being shuttered, whilst the one in Cwmbran, just three miles away, is always busy. Hammond does not do Weatherspoons though, so, as about knowledge of the daily struggles of your average Brit as the man in the moon.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Hah, looks like I got caught out in an Onion-style site. Unfortunately, those quotes that I gave from Phil Hammond were all to real.

  5. John A

    “‘Women are pissed’: Trump protest turns to action – and surge in female candidates Guardian (resilc)”

    ‘Pissed’ in England means drunk. Not sure the Guardian headline means that, just another example of that former left of centre rag becoming ever more all things America and more specifically HR Clinton, fawning.

  6. Jim Haygood

    This holiday-shortened trading week was kind to the Five Horsemen of the Techpocalypse.

    Amazon, officially classified in the Consumer Discretionary rather than the Tech sector, tacked on nearly 5 percent during the week, blowing the top off our chart. It has gained 30.4 percent since late April when the chart begins.

    1. cnchal

      Is it true that Amazon loses money on every “thing” it sells?

      If so, I encourage everyone to spend as much as possible, buying stuff from Amazon.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Year to date, Amazon reported earning $2.46 a share. Amazon’s share price is a modest 300 times earnings, compared to a P/E of 24.5 (itself rather high) for the S&P 500 index.

        Amazon’s high valuation is about market dominance. Profitability can come later, when Amazon is able to declare that “All your retail channel are belong to us!” :-0

        1. Andrew Watts

          It’s the Standard Oil variant of capitalism. Crush competition and establish a monopoly first and then worry about profit margins later. Who knew that it could work for what basically amounts to a mail order catalog on the internet?!

          1. JEHR

            And anyone worth $100 billion can out-wait his competition for years and years–maybe even decades. We will all be buying everything from Amazon in the future–sad thought.

      2. Vatch

        The trouble with buying from Amazon is that one is not buying from other vendors, and those vendors suffer from declining sales. Also, I suspect that while Amazon might not actually profit from a lot of their sales, they probably break even most of the time.

  7. David May

    “The Heartbreaking Rise of Abortion Clinic Closures…”

    This may come as a shock, but many people oppose abortion on moral or spiritual grounds. I know many of these people and they are good people. They are all otherwise socially liberal except that they believe human life is sacred.

    1. Romancing The Loan

      I oppose many things on moral or spiritual grounds that I think it would be nonetheless extremely unwise to give the government the power to ban.

        1. Irrational

          Hear hear.
          And how come so many of the most vocal advocates against abortion are male? What business do men have telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies?

          1. Ned

            They are expected to pay child support should the woman not get an abortion? That’s definitely “their business” when it leads to a life of poverty. Just being fair.

    2. Carla

      Many good people believe that human life is sacred until they unexpectedly become pregnant. Since your name is “David May,” that is unlikely to happen to you.

      BTW, as Yves notes, US medical schools are no longer teaching their students how to do abortions. That is driving the option of obtaining a safe, legal abortion that is so important to half the population further underground.

      1. Steven

        It is way past time to tell “many good people” they have no right to impose their beliefs on those who don’t share them. Those “many good people” who claim they oppose paying taxes to support the provision of abortions for those who can’t afford them even more vehemently oppose paying taxes to support the ‘right to life’. For them, the ‘right to life’ ends at birth.

        This business of the medical schools is deeply disturbing. You would expect those in charge of medical school curriculum to rise above the seething mass of stupidity with which neoliberal politicians, the mass media and Koch bros. propaganda have infected the body politic.

        1. David May

          The people I mentioned don’t impose their beliefs on others. They all voted either SDP or Die Linke in the last election here in Germany. Thinking is hard; not thinking is harder.

          1. Laughingsong

            It may be different in Germany. I don’t know if there has been the kind of social war there as here in the US. Here, this meme has been used as a cudgel against women, one of the many ways used to stuff them back in their place. I’m sure that many of the people here too that consider themselves anti abortion are doing so from a moral perspective but the movement itself has been politicized to an egregious and harmful level. And I’m with Sister Joan Chittister on this topic:

            “I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

            Here in the States I can tell you that this is not the philosophy that has the megaphone.

            1. clinical wasteman

              I definitely know of people in Germany — the parents of my Lebensgeliebte for example — who have thought it through deeply and see it exactly as Sister Joan does. On religious grounds considered over the course of a lifetime they find the thought of abortion very personally/spiritually upsetting, but they are equally — & just as thoughtfully — horrified by the thought of transferring that decision from the individual/social conscience to the caprices of the state. In part I think because state management of female bodies in particular was so central to the 3rd Reich (& also the “ex”-Nazi-ridden Christian Democrat BRD of the 50s/60s, which they remember well*), but also precisely because of a comprehensive understanding of care beyond birth for the person & the social body. The passage you quote, Laughingsong, could come verbatim from any of the people I have in mind.

              *For all its manifest — if obsessively media-catalogued — faults, the DDR was for many years way more “modern” or simply more serious than the BRD on women’s reproductive, social and labour rights, providing access to safe abortion as part of a good free medical system, and also free childcare allowing women to work throughout the economy when that was almost unheard-of in most of Western Europe. “The East” also did a far better job of not reappointing Nazis to run major industry and state bureaucracy.

            2. JBird

              I am pro-life, emotionally anti-abortion, but life is messy, not black and white but shades of gray. So although I think life sacred and off put by casual dismissal of the unborn by many, I cannot see how many want to treat half of us as uteri with legs. If an unborn child’s is important, and it is, what about when they are born? What about the expectant mother? What about the medical care, education, all the supports required for a good life? Hell, what about the whole family’s welfare? However as soon as the unborn child becomes an infant they are ignored.

              I do believe that many conservatives, and many (neo)liberals, agree on the cheapness of life; they certainly act as if the lives of most people including their fellow Americans are not worth the money for medical care, education, jobs, or a functional justice system, but there is always money to kill people, for wars small and large.

              I’m off topic, but I gotta say I don’t see much difference between parties with abortions. Neither really want to do what is necessary to make abortions rare or even unnecessary, while providing families and their children what is needed for a life. Plenty of words about being pro-choice or pro-life but that’s just cow manure.

    3. mpalomar

      That’s fine but isn’t the obvious problem that hardly needs stating except that you seem oblivious; these good people would impose their belief on others who must suffer the life altering consequence.

    4. el_tel

      They are all otherwise socially liberal except that they believe human life is sacred

      And that’s fine. It works “at the other end too” – I suspect the numbers are higher in the US but 7-10% of older Aussies hold this view. They are reassured when they learn “I am not alone” in wanting the kitchen sink thrown at them to keep them alive in a likely end-of-life scenario (despite the pretty horrid breathing/other ICU apparatus that’d be required). The irony is that the Hippocratic Oath means a LOT more than this percentage get the “kitchen sink” even though they wouldn’t want it – they never filled in an advance care directive (ACD) to say so – so the physicians must play safe. One issue I have wrestled with is whether resources could be freed up AND simultaneously satisfy a greater number of patients if ACDs were common….one of those rare “win-win” areas in the UK NHS which might help with the “bed blocking” that arises (particularly during winter) and allow freed up resources to go to areas in (even more) terrible need (mental health, but other aspects of elderly care too). Not a fight I suspect I’d ever win so have largely moved on from that to other things.

    5. perpetualWAR

      I knew a girl in high school who got pregnant at the drop of a dime. She opted to abort (thankfully) three times in high school, as she would have been/and is a horrendous mother. Turns out, even when she had kids with her then husband she shouldn’t have. Her ex tells me she now shoots heroin with his daughter.

      There is a reason for abortions, believe me.

      1. John Zelnicker

        @perpetualWAR – (Like your handle.) My daughter is similar. She has had more than one abortion, although not so young as the girl you knew. She would make a horrible mother and she has known it since she was a kid, so she never wanted kids and, fortunately, won’t have any. Not every woman should be a mother and forcing them only creates kids who have a very high potential of being damaged. Women who are self-aware enough to know they can’t handle raising children (or any additional children) should be praised rather than excoriated.

    6. Vatch

      One of the biggest organizations that opposes abortion also opposes contraception. This inconsistency is infuriating, as one of the best ways to prevent abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies by using effective contraception. Until that giant organization stops opposing contraception, I cannot respect their opposition to abortion.

      I also dislike the canard that “human life begins at conception”. Zygotes and blastocysts are not human, no matter what their DNA seems to indicate. The placenta has the same DNA as the zygote/blastocyst/embryo/fetus/baby, and we never arrest anyone for disposing of a placenta.

      1. Carla

        “One of the biggest organizations that opposes abortion also opposes contraception. This inconsistency is infuriating”

        It’s not inconsistent at all. Opposition to abortion and birth control is about controlling women. Period.

        Just remember: if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

      2. John Zelnicker

        @Vatch – Thank you for making the point in your last paragraph about the DNA of the placenta, etc. I never thought of it that way and it seems like a possibly effective point to bring to such a discussion.

        In my opinion, “human life” begins when that fetus/human can live that life independently of the womb (with or without medical support).

        Agree 1000% on the hypocrisy of being anti-abortion and anti-contraception. Drives me batty.

        This hypocrisy is proof that the anti-abortion forces are actually interested in keeping women “in their place”, and really don’t give a sh!t about the kids once they have exited the womb.

        There was a program in Colorado recently that dramatically demonstrated that highly effective contraception offered free of charge substantially decreased the number of abortions in the state.

      3. Lauren

        “Zygotes and blastocysts are not human, no matter what their DNA seems to indicate.”

        What are they if not embryonic humans? Arguing that zygotes and blastocysts shouldn’t have legal personhood is possible without resorting to the scientifically illiterate argument that they aren’t human.

        1. Vatch

          They have Homo sapiens cells, but there’s a lot more to being human than having a small number of a particular type of cell. As I pointed out, the placenta also has Homo sapiens cells and DNA, yet we don’t consider it to be human.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          I am sure you kill insects with no compunction.

          Insects are fully formed beings. A clump of cells is not. If you don’t kill insects, I will take your point of view seriously. Otherwise, you are a hypocrite.

        3. RickM

          Of the species Homo sapiens, yes. Human? That depends entirely on your definition of “human.” A baby, absolutely not. You can’t freeze a baby in liquid nitrogen. And have it survive, that is.

      4. Lauren

        Also, how is the fact that no one has ever been arrested for disposing of a placenta (presumably after birth when it is no longer needed by the former fetus now baby) at all relevant?

        I am pro-choice but I find the “just a clump of cells” arguments so off-putting.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            She doesn’t want to argue rationally. It’s all about her feelings.

            This is common among the young, although she could have been an early adopter.

            1. dcrane

              I’m currently not getting the flow of the discussion with Lauren. The core of her argument above is reasonable: “Arguing that zygotes and blastocysts shouldn’t have legal personhood is possible without resorting to the scientifically illiterate argument that they aren’t human.” (btw I’m pro-choice too.)

              What reason drives a society to prohibit killing other in-group humans in the first place (other than appeal to holy books/supreme authority figures, which simply pushes the question farther back)? This cooperative rule protects us from costly loss of our family members, loved ones, friends, business partners, etc…all of the people whose connections we depend on to survive and feel successful. A zygote has few such connections, few immediate ones at least (after all, many do not reach term to begin with), so it is not too difficult for many in society to accept killing a zygote/fetus given that the mother’s interests (which also demand protection) may not coincide with having and/or raising that particular child. Emotional connection and future promise to family members, which increases during pregnancy, dramatically multiplies with the successful birth of the child, so most though not all societies ban killing infants, although some still do. To add to this, since everyone can see the child it becomes more real as an object of empathy after birth. The definitional line for protecting human life relates to these properties, whether or not the reasons are conscious, and since they appear gradually we are left with the difficult choice of finding a line to draw.

              A clump of skin cells, and a placenta, and an insect do not offer the promise of sociality to a family/tribe. Well, not until we get even better with stem cell science that is.

              1. Vatch

                The zygote and blastocyst are relevant because abortion opponents often claim that human life begins at conception, and most of us believe it is wrong to kill humans. They oppose hormonal contraception, even though it might prevent conception, because it might kill the zygote or blastocyst shortly after conception. Of course, many of them also oppose forms of contraception that can’t possibly affect a zygote or anything beyond that.

                I’m skeptical that Lauren is really pro-choice. If she is, I hope she will share with us the reason why she is pro-choice. I would like to know what arguments she favors.

    7. WheresOurTeddy

      “…many people oppose abortion on moral or spiritual grounds. I know many of these people and they are good people (VALUE JUDGMENT BY YOU, MINE REGARDING SUCH PERSONS IS VERY DIFFERENT). They are all otherwise socially liberal except that they believe that they have a right to impose their views on other people in direct conflict with the ideals of a free, open, democratic society.”

      “believe human life is sacred” removed, replaced with more honest version.

  8. JTMcPhee

    Re Saudis torturing to extract wealth from each other:
    A tiny frisson of schadenfreude, at the seeming closing of the circle. Will us mopes, who have been on the rack at the hands of these and other wealth extractors for generations, now be treated to a feast of rich shi!ts getting down and dirty on each other, as the world descends into unsurvivable distress?

    But hey, thinking back and remembering what I learned of history, it has always been thus — quite a ransom paid for the return of an intact “Richard the Lion-Heart…,” e.g.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Considering none of them earned so much as $1 of their fortunes, and they are monarchists, I say let them flay each other until the pennies fall out the robe pockets.

      Monarchists, the most indefensible of all economic royalists, deserve everything that is coming to them.

  9. ahimsa

    A question for the Brexit commentariat:

    Am I missing something about the Irish government’s proposal that a hard border be moved to the Irish Sea?

    If goods and services can be traded freely between the UK mainland and Northern Ireland and there is no effective Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland border then there is currently nothing to stop the goods/services entering into mainland Europe from ROI. NI thus becomes a backdoor for UK businesses into the EU.

    In order to prohibit this, someone or some co-operation (UK/NI/ROI/EU) would have to control what would effectively become an EU border between the UK and NI. I cannot imagine the UK or NI ceding any control of their common border to the EU or ROI, so how is that supposed to work?

    The only alternative would be an EU hard border between the EU the whole island of Ireland, which is obviously self defeating for ROI.

    Are the EU and ROI not really asking that the NI stay in the EU?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, the Irish government is essentially asking that NI stays within, if not the EU, then the Common Market and Customs Union. Since NI has its own Assembly, its not impossible for it to maintain its position within the UK, while staying under the jurisdiction of the ECJ on trade and regulatory matters – it would mean shifting legal responsibility for a whole range of regulations from London to Belfast, but the structures are already in place for this. There are precedents in the form of the odd constitutional status of places like the Isle of Man and the Jersey Islands, or outside the UK, Greenland. And NI does have a peculiar status under the agreements made with regard to the peace process – this gives a special role to the EU and the Irish Republic in its governance (in practice this means very little, but they are internationally certified agreements).

      It would mean that duty would have to be paid and customs barriers on the Irish Sea, but in practical sense this is much easier than on the Irish border as nearly everything goes via ferry through about half a dozen ports. It would probably be simpler for, say, Tesco to incorporate this into supply chains across the islands than to deal with an Irish border.

      It would be legally and very messy in a regulatory sense, but the Irish government has implied that it would be less messy and chaotic than the reestablishment of an Irish border.

      Having said that, I’m not aware that anyone has really drilled into what this would mean legally, especially if someone challenged it in the UK (or even European) courts. The Irish government has kept a consistent line that its up to London to clean up the mess it has made – but for political reasons has not spelt out in detail how the system would work (this would be seen as a red rag to a bull to northern Ireland Unionists).

      1. Anonymous2

        One issue which appears to have been discussed recently is the idea that the UK might announce it’s intention to mimic the single market rules and the customs union tariffs (with the exception of freedom of movement ). If the Sun is to be believed (even a stopped clock can be right ) this has been rejected by HMG at the behest of Gove (read Murdoch ). As a suggestion it might obviously have made it easier to avoid a hard border between NI and the RoI. I fear that the UK government is more concerned with manoeuvring so as to make blaming the EU for the consequences of it’s own actions easier than with trying to avoid a hard border being necessary.

        1. Christopher Dale Rogers

          Whatever issues have been discussed, or whatever the complexities, the fact is, asking for an answer about this from the May Administration is basically asking the wrong folk. Whilst, no doubt, had Ms May secured her massive majority in June, this issue, and many more could easily have been cleaned up, however, given her Party is now reliant on the DUP propping them up, and given the extreme Right MPs in her ranks, she has to defer to both Arlene Foster in the DUP & the Europhiles in her own ranks.

          However, the UKs relationship with Eire/Ireland since the days of the Irish Free State has always been unique, namely, it was always easy for Irish citizens to jump over to the UK.

          My own recommendation, would be for Stormont & Dublin to thrash this one out, over seen by the Commission if the Good Friday Agreement is to be upheld, alas, Stormont would need to be in Session, and they are having difficulties with this presently.

          1. Clive

            I agree. The Republic and the U.K. need to resolve this one themselves. EU meddling is just seen, rightly or wrongly, as mischief making by the DUP and even the more moderate Brexit supporters in the Conservative party. To the swivel eyed Brexit loon faction, it is grist to the Daily Mail mill. I simply cannot understand why the EU is letting Eire embroil itself in this mess. It’s going to be hard enough for the U.K. and Irish governments to unpick it all. If the EU has got to keep sticking its fork into that toaster, that’s a complication which dooms the whole thing.

            While I am cynical, I really don’t think that is what the EU intends. It’s been — very usually, it’s normally way, way savvier than this — led down the garden path here and, as I’m sure it is now finding, that is then tricky to not end up stepping on a cow pat in.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              I’m not sure what you mean by saying that the EU is sticking its fork into that toaster? From my understanding the EU’s insistence on the UK sorting out the border issue is almost entirely due to Irish lobbying – it was reported in the Irish press as a diplomatic victory for Enda Kenny – the former PM – that he got it on the EU agenda as the EU wasn’t particularly interested at first.

              Since then, it seems Varadkars insistence that Ireland would use its veto on that subject was seen as an attempt to strengthen the EU’s spine over the issue and make it central to discussions. The Irish government hasn’t bothered hiding its frustration and anger at what it sees as London’s refusal to face up to the practical realities of a hard border.

              1. Clive

                I’d be more willing to buy into the EU being a passive conduit for Irish-initiated disquiet over the possibility of a hard border if it were not for the fact that Spain (who, conversely, would like nothing better than to enforce the hardest of hard borders with Gibraltar) has said scarcely a peep on the subject.

                Which leads me to the conclusion that the Council controls very tightly who is allowed into the EU’s bully pulpit and who has to hold their tongues and make sure they are singing from the prescribed hymn sheet.

                And the Council is tighter lipped still on what it would do (or what it would tell the Republic it had to do) if the U.K. itself declined to implement border controls. Imagine the scene in the Downing St. press conference on the day after Brexit as the prime minister, sniffling into their handkerchief, holding back a tear and clutching their pearls said how it deeply regretted Eire’s decision to put in border checkpoints and imports inspectors on “the south side”, the U.K. would do no such thing and hoped that both governments could still work together to reach a compromise which would enable Dublin to remove the hard border but, sigh, what can it do..? There wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house. And that would be entirely a “Made in the EU” problem.

                1. Oregoncharles

                  Yes, you mentioned that before. I’m curious how you envision it actually working. After all, one reason for Brexit is to avoid EU citizens flooding the labor market. You’re talking about a one-way smugglers’ freeway. Could Britain live with that, after?

                  And for it to affect the negotiations, it would have to happen NOW.

                  1. Clive

                    “Could Britain live with that?” — potentially, yes, it could. We are not dealing with necessarily entirely rational actors here.

                    There’s two aspects to an open border. One is traded goods. The other is the movement of people.

                    Taking the goods aspect first, whether unrestricted movement of goods presents a problem would depend on whether the U.K. wanted to impose tariffs or quotas on imports from the EU post Brexit. This is unlikely and even if it were to apply to some classes of goods, the smuggling potential through a theoretical open (open on the U.K. side, that is) north-south border isn’t any greater then through the myriad of relatively sparsely patrolled mainland ports.

                    The mainland ports give better access to the bulk of the U.K. population so a hypothetical smuggler would be more inclined to target those than having to get goods into NI and then have to make another leg of the journey into the mainland.

                    It’s people that are the bigger concern but again, NI isn’t that big and multiple tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants would stand out in sufficient numbers if they stayed in NI that periodic crack downs by U.K. immigration would have not much trouble finding enough people to round up to be deported to act as something of a deterrent.

                    Onward migration to the mainland would be more costly as a political problem but, to state the obvious geographic fact, there’s no land border. Mass undocumented immigration is much less likely if the only way across is by sea or air. It wouldn’t be zero. But it wouldn’t be tens of thousands either. You still need ID for a domestic flight in the U.K. so the ferries would be the easier option for undocumented entry. But that is a tiny market, only a few hundred a day for most of the year, a thousand or so in the holiday season, maximum. So again, not a viable route for even single-digit thousands, let alone tens of thousands, per year.

                    And looking at the situation today as it stands, most of the issue with undocumented migration or those seeking asylum is from mainland Europe (the channel ports in France). It’s hard to see why that would change even with post-Brexit open north-south border.

                    And that’s just the argument — the EU couldn’t let it stay an open border. It would, via the Republic, have to blink first and implement a hard border.

                    So in summary, there would be downsides to the U.K. not enforcing a north-south border. But the political point-scoring potential of the EU having to impose a hard border (and have the Republic violate the Good Friday Agreement) might well be too tempting for the U.K. government to pass up on.

                    And with the you-know-what storm that would ensue in the event of a no-deal hard Brexit, the U.K. government would be looking for some easy scapegoats and ways to make trouble for the EU as a distraction.

                    Put it this way, if you were the U.K. government, you’d be a little tempted, wouldn’t you?

                    I wish I wasn’t even having to contemplate all this. I do not endorse any of these suggestions personally and lament the whole sorrry state of affairs we find ourselves in. But here I am nevertheless presenting them, because ignorance isn’t bliss and the stakes are high. Anyone who thinks this is a game and they’ve got a get-out-of-jail-free card which spares them from risk and the possibility some, possibly a lot, of pain is deluded. That includes the EU as well as the U.K.

                  2. PlutoniumKun

                    I don’t actually think there are major worries about people flooding across the border – although theoretically eastern Europeans might find the easiest way to England is just fly to Dublin and then cross over. There are informal arrangements existing between the UK and Ireland existing (this is one reason Ireland is not part of the Schengen agreement).

                    The big issue is Customs. The Irish taxation authorities have already said that a firm border is impossible to avoid if the UK leaves the Customs Union. Contrary to what many Brexiters maintain, there is simply no ‘informal, turn a blind eye’ solution to this. If the Irish and British governments agreed to pretend the border didn’t exist, it would be in direct breach of both WTO and EU rules. Even if no national countries took action, there would be a wave of private legal actions from companies who believed they were suffering from illegal competition. It would be a completely unsustainable approach.

                    The other huge issue is the dairy industry. Ireland is one of the worlds biggest producers of milk solids. To give one example, the Republic is the second biggest supplier of baby formula to China. This trade is predicated on EU-Chinese trade agreements. I doubt the Chinese would turn a blind eye to milk products which are ‘contaminated’ with milk which is produced outside the health and safety food regulatory umbrella of the EU. It would simply be too risky for the Republic’s agriculture industry to allow this to happen. Only a managed border could control this sort of movement.

                    1. Anonymous2

                      I agree. I think the big problem is with the movement of goods. Phylosanitary and animal hygiene issues get ignored in the Brexit/NI border debate more than they should. The EU cannot agree, I believe, to an open border here without risking being challenged by other exporters across other EU borders who will argue that the EU is discriminating. The UK will blame the EU for the consequences of the UK’s own actions whatever happens. It has been doing that for the last thirty years, supported by a dishonest newspaper industry.

              2. makedoanmend

                Yeah, I’m rather flummoxed at that the suggestion that Ireland can somehow negotiate any part of a deal with the UK on a separate basis.

                Ireland is part of the EU and the negotiations are between the EU and the UK.

                The idea that the UK could separately do trade deals with the individual members of the EU is not allowed; in part or in whole. It really is that simple.

                Any part of any deal that affects any other members of the European Union affects all the members of the European Union.

                Right after the results of the Brexit vote were announced the prior Taioseach, Edna Kenny, positioned Ireland’s requirements to the forefront of future negotiations regarding the divorce proceedings. His first step was to have the EU recognise that if Ireland was united at some time in the future that the six counties would join just as Eastern Germany joined West Germany. He and the relevant Irish civil service at home and in Brussels then lobbied to have the border issue become a phase one issue.

                I can understand that those who have never felt any affinity with the EU may not understand how it works, or maybe desire that it works differently. However the Irish know all too well how negotiations work, especially when one is in a weaker position. Ireland isn’t going to weaken itself.

                1. Clive

                  Eire could have played the Good Friday Agreement card and suggest it made them a special case (it couldn’t abide by one treaty without reneging on another internationally binding agreement).

                  And Dublin is now inescapably on a hook of its own making — needing a deal where there is simply no obvious deal to be done that can possibly work given all the constraints — that it can’t walk back on*.

                  Instead, it looks like the kid who got into a schoolyard fight and then brings his big brother in to rough the other miscreant up in order to win it.

                  I do agree totally that in this case, the U.K. looks in a more stupid position because both the Republic (and their brother) can then point out that they didn’t start it. Which they didn’t. And most of us learned in our school days** to never get into dumb-ass squabbles with kids who have big brothers, especially if they’re into boxing (or just thuggish). Because that’s just asking for trouble. Most, that is, except the U.K. government, who never met a squabble with the EU they were willing to walk away from.

                  * if it hadn’t made the border “a thing” in the negotiations, it might have been possible to fudge the issue by calling the six counties a “special economic development exemption free trade zone” or some other ridiculously obvious fudge that everyone nevertheless pretends is perfectly reasonable. I agree too that the U.K. is on the same hook, but then it was always going to be and it too was always going to have to squirm it’s way out of trouble as best it could by compromising. But now compromising is much harder for both parties. If it can’t agree to a deal — and as previously mentioned, there is no deal which can be agreed given the constraints — the EU will have to impose a hard border on the Republic. Then it’ll be Dublin that doesn’t look quite so clever. But that’ll be a Pyrrhic victory for London if ever there was one.

                  ** I managed to never have to get into fights as a kid. I learned that the stupid kids who picked fights had short attention spans and were easily distracted. My one hope is that Brexit could, just possibly, be finessed away by both the EU and the U.K. by dragging out negotiations so long until everyone is thoroughly fed up of the whole thing that a) the U.K. domestic political environment changes sufficiently to recant the triggering of A50 while it engages in a “listening to the people” Public Enquiry and b) the EU cobbles together some face-saving arrangement where it gets some token compensation such as cancellation of the U.K. rebate in return for “full participation” and “considering reforms” as part of the U.K. Public Enquiry process. A process which can be dragged out for a decade and end up doing nothing.

                  The chances of that happening? Slim to non-existent. For one thing, the U.K. doesn’t deserve to be cut any slack by anyone. And for another, it’s hard to drag out an argument until everyone tires of it when there’s a two-year countdown ticking away.

                  And finally — and most importantly to PlutoniumKun — I’m sorry to have raised this topic here because a comment thread is especially unsuitable to explore the vast and complex issues in play. You raise valid and essentially correct points. They in turn conjure responses (as here) but these then deserve a proper space to get responded to, which this isn’t. I’m really not sure how we can provide that.

                  1. makedoanmend

                    Thanks for the response.

                    The EU will not be imposing the hard border, nor threatening to do so. The UK’s withdraw from the EU and the customs union makes a hard border inevitable, barring some substantive moves by all parties concerned that, above all else, safeguards the customs union. Given the current unlikelihood of that occurring, Ireland will have to live with decisions others have made. There is an order of events that sets precedents.

                    The Irish government was more than aware of the significance of the border issue before the Brexit vote was held (having taken major national decisions as a negotiating partner in the peace process) and has now made sure that it is an issue at the forefront of these negotiations. For any country to have done anything less would have been dereliction of its governmental duty towards its peoples.

                    Ireland, far from being a tear-away in the school yard, has been confronted by circumstances that others in the school yard have fostered by their disregard for others inhabiting that space, and may or may not to continue to foster as a negotiation position – a bargaining chip.

                    However, I’ll not divert your from your exploration of complex issues in a more suitable colloquy and with those more commensurate of said worthy status.

      2. Clive

        A third-rail for loyalists. Any notion that NI would have some kind of special status in the U.K. which isn’t shared with the rest of the country is not going to be a happening event.

        And even if it isn’t true at all to say that giving the EU — especially the ECJ and the ECHR — jurisdictional authority over the province is tantamount to implementing a United Ireland, the fact that these bodies would have a big say in how citizens were treated (and referrals to these authorities would sooner or later be at the behest of Dublin with London being in the position of not being able to do a single thing about it) to unionists the optics of that kind of arrangement would be indistinguishable.

        Nice idea, but politically a non-starter.

        1. Christopher Dale Rogers


          If you think the DUP/Ulster Unionists are going to go ballistic, just wait until the EU presents its actual demands for the final settlement bill, which has to be agreed upon before any other substantive issues can be addressed. Given we are now up to the £40 billion mark, and given we may actually be looking at the £60 billion mentioned in the early stages, I’m afraid to say such sums won’t sit comfortably with many of those who voted to Exit, particularly given the UKs perilous public finances and prospect now of austerity for another decade or more.

          At this juncture in time, Yves has been pulling much material from more liberal, pro-European publications, as well as the Daily Torygraph & Daily Hate, whilst ignoring BS coming from The Sun and Daily Express, regrettably, Murdoch’s stable of newspapers in the UK still has a large physical readership, which is easily aroused shall we say.

          Whilst, within the UK body politic, the Remain camp actually has the upper hand, despite what observers here may believe, I think matters may well change rapidly for the worse if the EU overplays its hand, particularly if our dishonest rabidly Brexit newspapers begin screaming bloody murder.

          1. John A

            “I think matters may well change rapidly for the worse if the EU overplays its hand,”

            How can you possibly over play a hand that contains 4 aces?
            The rabid Brexiters are in la la land when it comes to the hand each side holds.

            1. ChrisPacific

              How can you possibly over play a hand that contains 4 aces?

              Ask Israel. When people feel cornered and out of options, they may be driven to actions that they wouldn’t normally consider.

              1. makedoanmend

                Britain is leaving the EU, not the other way about. The current UK government has stated it is definitely leaving the customs union. It is stating its position in the starkest of terms.

                It is dealing its own hand unto itself.

                “Irish warn Theresa May: change course or risk Brexit chaos”

                “…The Irish crisis came as Britain’s former EU ambassador, Sir Ivan Rogers, warned May’s Brexit strategy was ‘an accident waiting to happen’. Speaking after a speech at Hertford College, Oxford, he said completing the Brexit process was “guaranteed” to take a decade. He said that the prime minister’s unrealistic hopes of securing a bespoke trade deal meant a car crash in the next few months was “quite likely”.

                ‘The internal market is an extraordinarily complex international law construct that simply doesn’t work in a way that permits the type of options that the current government is pushing for’, he said. ‘So there is an accident waiting to happen … and it is going to happen because the other side is going to put on a table a deal which looks broadly like a Canada or a Korea deal…’ ”


                1. Mark P.

                  Israel has nukes and is alone among its neighbors in possessing them

                  And Israel’s nukes have never been any damned use to it at all strategically. A point made clear during the 1973 Yom Kippur war by Golda Meir’s over-ruling Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s preparations to ready them for use at a juncture when it appeared highly possible that Israel might lose the war fighting on conventional terms.

                  Here’s an authoritative Israeli account —

                  In general, nukes have almost zero strategic application, as not only arms control folks but also most serious people at the Pentagon will tell you.

                  Even outlying state actors like the US and North Korea who use their ‘nuclear umbrella’ so they can carry out conventional armed interventions and international outrages with impunity get damned little return on the money they’ve spent. Nuclear weapons didn’t help the U.S. in the least against al-Qaeda before or after September 9th, 2001, did they?

                  As for the U.K.’s nuclear weapons, they’re a waste of money except inasmuch as they preserve the U.K.’s position as one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

                  1. Mark P.

                    In other Brexit news, Sir Ivan Rogers has a few words to say —

                    The inside story of how David Cameron drove Britain to Brexit


                    Cameron’s top man on Europe looks back and tells all about how a leader who wanted his party to stop banging on about Europe ended up destroying the UK’s place in the EU—and himself

                    It’s 12,000 words, but interesting. Some titbits …

                    ‘The political effect of the decision of May 2004 to allow free movement of people into the UK from those states without the seven year transitional period … which all the other major western Member States took advantage, was even more critical….

                    ‘…The official forecasts we saw of the potential numbers of arrivals were … laughably low, and were discredited within months. We should all have asked ourselves then whether they could possibly be right.

                    ‘The one serious high level discussion … was a meeting between the then Governor of the Bank, Mervyn King, and the PM …King pressed the case to open the labour market … on the grounds that it would help lower wage growth and inflation, address supply bottle necks in a fast-growing pre financial crisis economy, and help keep interest rates low. He made the same case publicly in subsequent speeches, when the numbers arriving were vastly higher than had been forecast.’

                    ‘Many (in the EU) said, privately, that we were surely in a rather comfortable “have our cake and eat it” world, outside the “machine infernale” that the eurozone appeared to have become for them … but benefitting from membership of those parts of the EU into which we had, over the previous 20 years, chosen to opt, and carve out a unique British status.

                    ‘…(However) as the crisis (GFC) in the eurozone intensified, they needed to make urgent institutional changes to shore up monetary union and prevent disaster. But no such institutional changes, requiring changes in the primary law, could, under the EU Treaties, be made unless all the Member States agreed and ratified them. In other words, the UK was obliged to legislate, at speed, to permit changes deemed by the members of the eurozone essential to save the Eurozone, in discussions in which, inevitably, as we were outside the monetary union, we were not present.

                    ‘Simultaneously, of course, the worsening real world impacts of the crisis, notably in Southern Europe, propelled greater numbers of people to seek work in the healthier more open labour markets elsewhere, including the UK’s.’

                    I’ll send it in to blogger @Nc.

                2. ChrisPacific

                  I think my analogy was ambiguous, sorry. I was imagining the EU as Israel and the UK as Palestine/the Palestinians.

                  It’s an inaccurate analogy in some respects as the UK’s problems are largely self-inflicted, but if it all ends in tears and they manage to redirect blame outwards (the politicians will be desperate to do so, and the tabloids will probably cooperate) then it may not make all that much practical difference.

            2. Christopher Dale Rogers

              John A,

              I’m none too sure what a ‘rabid Brexiter’ is in the context of a political settlement to the UK extracting itself from the EU, that said, my point was referring to the UK Demos itself, and, bringing an historical reality into play here, the punative Versailles Peace Settlement imposed on Weimar Germany did not play out too well in the end, particularly with a certain segment of the German population. Again, we tend to hear a lot from those in the Demos opposed to Brexit, and usually not a bleep from those who voted for it, and here I’m referring to the Demos itself, not the political actors.

              1. John A

                Comparing Brexit to the Versailles Settlement is idiotic. The EU is a union of European nations, not a war to end all wars. The settlement terms are related to the costs of membership and the commitments of membership.

                But then again, the rabid Brexiteers have always been in a kind of war against Europe, so I can understand why they think that.

      3. Oregoncharles

        IIRC, the Unionists already erupted.

        One more reason for a new election in the UK.

        Also, the Republic proposal failed to mention that it would also require a customs barrier between them and the EU, in order to avoid mass smuggling. Which will happen regardless, but best to keep it down to a dull roar.

        Should be interesting.

        And full disclosure: despite Orange ancestry, I sympathize with the Irish on this point. Past time the island was re-unified. My ancestors were smart enough to take a good look at the situation and get the h. out.

      4. ahimsa

        Thank you for your reply, PK (and the others’ below),

        This still looks to me like NI would become a backdoor into Europe for UK businesses. If the Irish Sea becomes a de facto EU border, who would ‘police’ it in the EU’s interests – the UK?

        As Barnier has already pointed out, the EU will not compromise the integrity of its common market for the sake of the UK. Any imports to EU mainland from Ireland would consequently have to be controlled at French/Spanish/Dutch/etc. ports to ensure they are not originating from the UK. Irish exporters would necessarily suffer.

        1. Oregoncharles

          If the EU were to compromise, it would presumably be for Ireland, a member state, not the UK. I’m not convinced Ireland is that important to them – it wasn’t during the Great Financial Collapse.

          My understanding is that Ireland has a substantial economic and political stake in that open border. That seems to be what they’re saying.

          1. makedoanmend

            I broadly concur with your comments and insights. Ireland is not a big player in the EU, but it does have a voice. At this juncture of the negotiations it also has a louder voice than normal, so to speak, in the form of a veto (of sorts, and certainly limited). This is why the prior Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, and the relevant advisers both at home and in Brussels, saw the need to highlight the border and make it a phase 1 negotiating priority.

            Given that the UK has said is will be leaving the customs union, the border becomes a hard reality.* They may throw some PR unicorn dust on the issus in the short term, but unicorn dust seems to be in short supply at the moment. What Ireland might be able to glean from the proceedings in the form of some up front goodies is anybody’s guess. Taoiseach Varadkar will have to bring something back to Dublin to cover from the scar the border will leave.

            Contrary to shirt rending and cries of woe from some that the EU are being pure bastards, I get the impression, especially from Michel Barnier and crew, that they want to make the exit orderly – not particularly friendly, nor served with plum benefits to the departing divorced partner, but orderly. It’s in everyone’s interests to get over with this.

            [*Whilst the border could accommodate free movement of peoples (which seems to be an anathema to many Brexiters) I just can’t imagine any fudge regarding the movement of good across the border that will become, in effect, a frontier into the EU. One cannot have a legal and codified customs jurisdiction with a back door. It would negate the raison d’etre of the customs union.

            However, one can hold out hope that some sort of unforeseen or unique arrangement might be cobbled together. What I have noted, and this is by no mean absolute, that even some staunch Leftists in Ireland are willing the give Varadkar and Coveney room to manoeuvre and uphold the legitimate interests of the country in such straightened circumstances.]

    2. Oregoncharles

      @ Ahimsa –
      There would have to be border controls on the RoI ports, too, between them and EU. They aren’t being real forthcoming about that.

  10. ChiGal in Carolina

    Thanks for the recommendation. Would have skipped right over the click-baity Bored Panda link and missed those amazing photos. Georgeous landscapes.

    And nice cat you’re wearing, sir!

    1. Mirjonray

      Ditto on the gorgeous landscapes! At times I thought I was looking at film stills from a David Lean movie.

  11. Marco

    “Happily Gentrifying..”

    Real-estate developers and “artisanal” entrepreneurs are not the only culprits making a livable neighborhood unaffordable. An artist acquaintance purchased a duplexed property in Chicago several decades ago and welcomed the appreciation in his home’s value. Successive refis and the rent from his other unit allowed him to continue his art and yet I have never met anyone more callous to the plight increasing rents have on the less fortunate. All he cares about is a 650 or higher FICO for a prospective tenant and the freedom to raise the rent $50 every year.

    1. Octopii

      What’s he supposed to do? Keep the rent steady, slow the maintenance, spend time dealing with deadbeats who don’t pay, be unable to evict due to city regs, let the building circle the drain until the neighborhood changes by other means and he sells to make room for luxury condos?

      Sorry, but everything in this world costs more every year, by design. And after experiencing the outcome of renting to someone with bad credit the first time, nobody who has any other option is going to do it again – it’s not worth the risk.

          1. Daryl

            Mine, amusingly, is apparently dinged because the only line of credit I keep is a credit card, which is always paid off in full. I don’t have enough debt — I am too responsible and therefore not a source of potential profit.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          But it’s those deadbeat renters who don’t deliver enough profit to Octopii that are the problem!

          Reminded of a photo I saw of graffiti:

          The News – Rich people convincing Middle Class people that Poor People are the problem…

  12. Clive

    Re: Uber’s (UK) Supreme Court Leave to Appeal Request

    This is desperation. UK employment law is very well settled, the appeal doesn’t seem to have any points of law basis of debate to support it and their case has already been reviewed on appeal. They can’t introduce new evidence on appeal and the Appeal Tribunal upheld the lower judge’s findings of fact entirely. Their only ground is perversity or some sketchy procedural mis-step. These have very high bars. I hope Lady Hale (president of the UKSC) tells them to shuffle their rancid decaying carcass off and don’t darken our door ever again.

    Apart from squandering yet more of their fast-depleting cash, the only reason I can think of for Uber pursing an appeal is to kick their liability can down the road for another year or so.

    1. makedoanmend

      Thanks for the info – it’s encouraging. Other jurisdictions might then, dependent upon the desperate Uber gambit failing, seek to learn from UK employment law in this regard.

  13. Croatoan

    I do not know if you all saw the happy feel good story of the white woman who ran out of gas in Philly and a “ex-vet and ex-paramedic” who was homeless because he “lost his paper work” had “given her his last $20” for gas so she could get out of the dangerous city. She set up a gofundme account to help him and it raised over $300,000 already. They later found out, and I do not mean this to be demeaning, that he has drug abuse issues that the gofundme did not mention.

    I have my comments, but wondering if you all had any before I ranted.

    1. el_tel

      Well I don’t know enough about the specifics of the individuals but I can relate some information from UK/other single payer schemes where the “funding cutoff point” has landed difficult decisions in the lap of national funding advisory bodies (NICE in the UK) like “should smokers be de-prioritised”. Citizens’ Juries (CJs) – which comprise typically 25-30 members of the general population selected from previous surveys who are meant to be representative of the broader population in terms of socio-demographics and attitudes – have been used. Basically the idea is that a range of health care professionals and those working in “borderline areas” like public health and health services research give presentations. These often comprise things like the socio-demographic forces (to be less polite “neoliberalism”) force a lot of these people into decisions that medics otherwise wouldn’t condone and what should be done about them regarding the “funding queue”.

      Typically what is observed afterwards is that views homogenise a lot more – recognising these factors and “extremists” take a more moderate line like their peers towards problem drinkers/smokers etc. So “understanding the broader picture” changes the attitudes. As I say, I can’t really comment on the individuals in this story (though not sure a full $300,000 should go to the ex-vet – maybe some should go to ex-vets mental health charities etc). But it does give pause for thought, which is perhaps reassuring – when educated about the issues, people think a lot more about the wider context and downstream implications of rationing.

      1. knowbuddhau

        No, that money was given to him. He earned it. It’s his.

        He used that 20 for an act of magnanimity. Because of his choice and his actions, it turned into a winning ticket in the “good deed” lottery.

        And now some want to qualify his worthiness. No, wrong. That money is his.

        1. el_tel

          OK I think we’re issues that are unrelated to my central point here. My point was not primarily concerned with how much of that was deservedly “his”. I’m not going to argue about whether he deserves some/all of it. I just wanted to make the point that if people are going to start unpicking his past and make judgments about his “worthiness” there’s evidence that “seeing the whole picture” can change things a lot.

          1. Croatoan

            This was part of my issue. If he was known to have drug or mental health issues would there have been that much of a response? If he was black? If he was not a vet or an EMT? Maybe he was really bad at both of those jobs? Do we know it was his last $20 or was that a con? My brother was homeless, he used tricks similar to that all the time.

            But knowbuddhau, Is magnanimity and a small investment what we need to see the homeless as human and to help them? Why is gofundme no solely populated with causes for the homeless? That is why it is a sad story to me. I am not saying he is not worth it, I am saying we are all worth it, yet the worthiness seems to be dictated by an odd preference.

            1. el_tel

              Is magnanimity and a small investment what we need to see the homeless as human and to help them? Why is gofundme no solely populated with causes for the homeless? That is why it is a sad story to me. I am not saying he is not worth it, I am saying we are all worth it, yet the worthiness seems to be dictated by an odd preference.

              Yes exactly – “worthiness” is being define by odd criteria…..and when groups of diverse individuals are exposed to the full implications of their decisions, and reasons why “defunded” groups might have ended up there, they become much more empathetic. That’s really the only major point I wanted to make. We live in a world where a lot of “guff” gets in the way of how we see unfortunates (social media being a major vehicle for propagating this stuff). When they are seen in their complete context, beyond a 180 character limit (or whatever), and people have to spend a day listening to the realities, discussing them, and coming to a reasoned conclusion, we see a much more hopeful view of humanity emerge – that all humans are equally deserving, particularly when social/economic aspects of life have skewed their life choices. But sadly that type of exercise is just too rare.

    2. knowbuddhau

      OMG back to the gutter with him! Refund it all, plus interest and penalties for pain and suffering due to contributing to an Unworthy. Or make him work off that $300K doing hard labor.

      Couldn’t have been flossing all that time. Bet he has bad breath and BO, too. The horror.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Meanwhile Bezos hits a 100b and nary a peep says that’s too much, take it away!

        There should be no such thing as a billionaire.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          We used to know the insidious danger monopolists represent to society but today we treat them like folk heroes while the Amazon Death Star bankrupts whole swathes of middle class businesses. All so a laughing monopolist centi-billionaire can manage so his company makes almost no profit, pays almost no taxes, and meantime he gets to choose our political leaders through his blog newspaper. I mean what kind of stupid have we become?

        2. Vatch

          There should be no such thing as a billionaire.

          So very true. I don’t have a problem with (some) millionaires, but no billionaire has ever deserved his or her gargantuan wealth. Some millionaires gain their wealth through hard work, intelligence, education, etc., but nobody can become a billionaire without extraordinary luck (such as inheritance), or by stealing from customers, competitors, employees, suppliers, or taxpayers.

          Bill Gates, for example, got rich because he and Paul Allen created MS-DOS by copying Tim Paterson’s clone of Digital Research’s CP/M operating system, and his mother personally knew the CEO of IBM. That acquaintance was a foot in the door that few others in the fledgling PC industry could match. The same for Windows — they copied work done at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center as well as the Apple Macintosh.

          Jeff Bezos abuses his employees, and as Andrew Watts pointed out at 11:45 AM, Bezos uses some of the same unethical methods that Standard Oil used a little over a century ago. Bezos also benefited from indirect government subsidies in the first decade or so of’s existence. Brick and mortar retailers had to charge their customers sales tax, but Bezos got to avoid that by selling interstate. This gave his company a price advantage that wasn’t available to many other companies.

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        Thank you. Fer Chrissakes, if he had diabetes or asthma or any other chronic medical condition requiring ongoing management would this similarly call into question his worth as a human being who fought for his country, probably developed PTSD as a result, to benefit from any assistance that can be provided?

        1. el_tel

          Indeed! Hence my comment above showing that when the public get educated about the “socio-economic nasties” they become much more understanding.

    3. Romancing The Loan

      Going solely from your account of it, I’d say the drug abuse issues make it all the more impressive that he gave her the $20. I hope he buys a house in a nice neighborhood with the gofundme proceeds.

      1. Lord Koos

        I wonder about the drug abuse thing too — it’s definitely not typcial addict behavior to give away money.

        1. JBird

          Even addicts are human beings. So perhaps he saw someone who at that moment needed the twenty more than he did?

    4. 10leggedshadow

      When I read the story, I felt there was something missing in the homeless man’s story. I expected it to be drugs.

    5. Wukchumni

      I’ve noticed in the past few years all of the sudden, there’s been many instances of waitresses receiving $1000 tips on a $32 bill or something similar, reported in the press.

      This story strikes me as yet another feel good story, as we collectively mostly try and avoid the homeless like the plague. (not yet-only Hep A so far)

    6. WheresOurTeddy

      I’m sure you feel similarly about withholding bonuses from Wall Street execs and their ilk until they can all pass a drug test to show they won’t use that bonus money on nose candy.

      Yours is a classist, garbage comment. Grow a soul.

  14. The Rev Kev

    Re NFL Considering New Rule To Keep Players In The Locker Rooms During The National Anthem
    American commentators may be able to help out here but was that not the norm until about five years ago? I read that only recently. If so, it would be strange for the author of that article not to mention it.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Five years ago? Do you expect anyone in America to remember something from so long ago? Heck, people don’t even remember the W. Bush administration.

    2. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      November 25, 2017 at 9:51 am

      (Reuters) – The National Football League said on Tuesday it opposes a tax bill proposed by U.S. House of Representatives Republicans that could force teams to put up more of their own money to fund stadium construction.
      Under the legislation unveiled last week, local governments could no longer fund the building or renovation of professional sports stadiums by issuing tax-exempt, public-purpose bonds, the sort of bonds typically used to fund schools, libraries and public transit.
      President Donald Trump has called for an end to the subsidy, at least for the NFL, after some of its players angered the Republican president by kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial bias in the criminal justice system. His Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, also proposed ending the tax break for stadiums in 2015.
      Turkey and cinnamon sprinkled wine induced dreams: If only there were black bank CEO’s …. that kneeled to protest against racial bias, maybe we could get all the subsidies to the grifters on Wall Street eliminated….
      Apparently, until we have far, far more rapacious black billionaires, we’ll never have true tax reform…

      So, so many jobs lost to all the out sourcing decisions made by strong safeties, left tackles, and right guards…..and I think it is universally agreed that cornerbacks are entirely responsible for the opioid epidemic….

    3. lyman alpha blob

      You are correct and the author does touch on it –

      The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the owners may refer to a prior policy in just keeping the players inside.

      -and there is a link to the WaPo article which mentions the current policy of requiring players to be on the sideline only started in 2009. IIRC this policy may have come about when the NFL began being paid big bucks by Uncle Sugar to put on patriotic displays.

    4. Lee

      If they never let the players take the field at all, they’d prevent a lot of brain damage.

      As an aside, male Olympic boxers no longer wear headgear as it has been determined that the gear paradoxically causes more damage than it prevents. I’m wondering if brain injuries among football players would be reduced if the players were not so heavily armored. As youngsters we played tackle football without gear in the local park. It made us less reckless with ourselves than we might otherwise have been. Some of my fondest memories are of playing mud-covered and exhilarated on rain soaked fields.

  15. subgenius

    Tai chi/baduanjin… etc

    This stuff is not really amenable to the types of testing we employ (culturally speaking). I spent a period as a research assistant and guinea pig for Prof. Shin Lin @ UCI ( – he’s quite a character, a Wing Chun master in his own right, as well as spending 23 years as professor at Johns Hopkins) so I have a degree of familiarity with the subject.

    It is well worth the effort if you can spend time with a real master that is a good teacher, but as with yoga there are vanishingly few people that qualify, and they tend to be very obscure, and like yoga…but more so in that there is little similarity with what you expect, and there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. But the dao cannot be told and all that…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe they might find a way.

      I saw a documentary from 70s’ (I think) with Bill Moyers at China about awake brain surgery with acupuncture.

      I google just now and see Mayo also has awake brain surgery, probably not with acupuncture though.

      1. Lee

        The brain itself has no pain receptors. Getting to it might get a tad uncomfortable. Hasn’t acupuncture been largely debunked?

        Part of the myths that sprang from Nixon’s visit to China in 1971 was that a journalist had an appendectomy whilst under anaesthesia from acupuncture. This appeared miraculous and helped spread the idea that needling was some sort wonder treatment from the East. Unfortunately, the accounts were rubbish. Despite this, the myths persist. Ten years ago, the BBC broadcast a programme that implied a woman on film underwent heart surgery using acupuncture as an anaesthetic. Simon Singh complained to the BBC and after a battle they had to admit the woman had been pumped full of a cocktail of sedatives and anaesthetics so she did not feel the operation. The acupuncture she had during the operation was cosmetic.

        Also, from Science Based Medicine:

        1. Randy

          FWIW. Once upon a time I drove a barbed treble hook into my head past the barb. I handed my cousin the needle nose pliers and told him to pull it out. He was all squeamish about it but he complied. I felt the tissue ripping as it came out but no pain. It bled a lot but it didn’t hurt. For a long time afterword I was known as Randy Rapala Head.

          I slipped and hit my head on concrete once, knocked myself out for a few seconds and raised a big lump. That hurt for more than a few days. From experience head cuts don’t hurt, blunt force head trauma does.

    2. Tim

      There’s also the assumption that these skills are normally distributed (inherent in models using least squares regression) when it seems like it’s more likely an exponential distribution, e.g. almost everyone is garbage and there are a few stars.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      I have to confess I get annoyed with stories praising tai chi because I can’t do it, nor can I do any of the one legged standing postures in yoga. I was seeing orthopedists as soon as I could walk. I have very unstable feet and ankles made worse by many ankle sprains. And please do not advocate physical therapy. You don’t have enough muscles in your ankle to even begin to compromise for lax or damaged tendons and ligaments.

      1. el_tel

        Without wishing to encourage you to supply more info than you are willing, have you been tested for hypermobility? My mother was extremely supple/mobile in her youth. I and my three siblings have been the same (and the older two have a different father to me and my sister). When I shared an office with a consultant rheumatologist in Bristol, one weekend my sister visited. The three of us plus the rheumatologist’s wife (paediatric consultant rheumatologist) were in the pub. My sister remarked she can’t do breast-stroke anymore as her knee starts to hurt. I blurted out “Me too!” The two rheumatologists had a sidelong glance which I caught and asked “so what gives?”

        They asked me and my sister to do a series of exercises – touching your inner arm with your thumb (on the same hand obviously!) etc. Not all exercises for the “hypermobility test” can be done in a pub (unless you really want to be thrown out for looking like drunken weirdos) but we did enough – and passed – for both to be diagnosed as hypermobile (probably never noted in my official medical notes as “a test in the pub” probably doesn’t pass muster). The treatment? Preventative and, unfortunately, VERY time consuming intensive work at the gym (most usefully on the fixed weight machines) to build up the muscles/tendons around key joints (knees, hips and ankles). The last of which is, as you note, INCREDIBLY difficult, particularly if not done at a young age when what muscles you have are more easily “built up” as opposed to atrophying.

        Hypermobility sounds good – flexibility, yada yada, but isn’t – your joints are inherently unstable, making you more likely to injure yourself. Although not clinically/causatively linked to osteoarthritis, there is a strong association with it – indeed my mother has needed double knee replacements (which haven’t worked properly). Now I am officially (for the purposes of a local longitudinal study) “old” (over 40 – hmph!) I got some free tests and scans on my knees. No evidence (yet) of bone problems but the researcher did see the very early signs of bone growth (i.e. future osteoarthritis) in one knee. Ankle instability after age 40 is no fun – I sprained mine recently trying to catch our incalcitrant cat to get her indoors.

      2. Tim

        It is probably possible to learn the biofeedback aspects through seated meditation, which can be modified from the kneeling/lotus position to sitting in a chair, though, some traditions say that all the great meditators sat in full lotus.

  16. fresno dan

    Broaddrick said the idea that anyone would use sexual assault allegations to score political points “hurts her to the bones.” But when asked whether she thinks Trump used her for his own political gains, Broaddrick said: “I didn’t care.”

    “We had this opportunity in a very public forum to come out again and tell what happened to us to people who had no idea we existed,” she continued. “That’s why I did it.”

    Broaddrick demures when asked if she believes Trump’s more than a dozen accusers, stating repeatedly that she has “no idea” if the allegations of sexual harassment and assault against him are true.
    to paraphrase “The Boxer”
    I have squandered my resistance
    For a pocketful of mumbles,
    Such are promises
    All lies and jest
    Still, a woman hears what she wants to hear
    And disregards the rest.

    I am putting down my lantern and ceasing my wanderings in daylight looking for a partisan who will concede the hypocrisies of the like minded….

  17. Dita

    Watch out y’all – and pray Priscilla Zuckerberg won’t bring her “charitable” “LLC” to bring “hope” to your benighted neighborhood. The city’s reasoning that the nabe would have to be moved anyway because “floodplain” adds that touch of eminent domain too. Why can’t the Zucks build an RV park at another location in addtion to working oh so feverishly to eradicate disease? (Rhetorical)

  18. el_tel

    re Chinese fMRI study

    If you followed certain editors of “legit” health journals on Twitter you’d laugh your health off at the requests they copy and tweet to everyone concerning getting such studies published in high impact journals – the latest was a DIRECT offer of cash to publish a study within a certain-frame. Unbelievable. And the Twittersphere in health economics is gasping/laughing at this, the most audacious case of attempts to violate publication rules that we’ve ever seen.

    1. Tooearly

      i see nothing wrong with the functional MRI study. Conclusions seem in line. They are not offering this up as salvation. sample size was large enough to show significant differences but were they clinically meaningful?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No, sorry, you’ve just demonstrated you are out of your depth, I know a group of MDs who make a point (on behalf of professional sports teams and similar level amateurs, think Olympic contenders) of reading medical studies for any ideas they can implement re diet, rehab, supplementation, and training. They all have taken heavyweight courses in statistics to supplement their medical training. They have a following precisely because they have established a track record in being able to sort out BS from approaches that might have potential.

        One of their hard core rules is that any human study with less than 100 in the control group and 100 in the test group is garbage. They’ve seen case after case after case confirming the validity of their cutoff.

        1. el_tel

          One of their hard core rules is that any human study with less than 100 in the control group and 100 in the test group is garbage. They’ve seen case after case after case confirming the validity of their cutoff.

          Agree entirely. I’d qualify this however. With some “standard” treatments that work in a similar way (despite your individual circumstances), RCTs, meta-analyses and systematic reviews are on hard ground for deciding on whether these studies “are worth the paper they are written on”. The problem is heterogeneity among patients. Increasingly we can’t rely on the central limit theorem, etc etc to give an “overall treatment recommendation”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT defending this study – even if they’d found a homogeneous subgroup it’s still deeply suspect. My problem is that, partly due to polypharmacy among patients, recognition of differential responses, there must be recognition that the distribution of patient responses is often multimodal. Better RCTs/meta-analyses that know the sources of such heterogeneity do better – they use the rule you quote among each subgroup. But my worry is that the baby is thrown out with the bathwater due to an incomplete understanding of how individuals respond to treatment. (Nobody understands who the subgroups are and how to define them a priori.)

          My favourite example is pregabalin – overall? Yes, brilliant drug. But that’s because there is a larger subgroup for whom it is a godsend (often the only drug to deal with neuropathic pain). The problem is we simply don’t know a priori who will respond without developing tolerance/addiction and who won’t. MY gut feeling is that is comes down to social factors (rooted in neoliberalism effects) – soldiers on high strength morphine in the Korean war who came back to stable jobs etc usually showed no ill effects after coming off it. It’s when “your life is awful” that (I am guessing) you are prone to problems. Doctors are ill-prepared to quantify/deal with this. Hence we get pregabalin about to be reclassified alongside benzodiazepines in the UK. You can see (via openprescribing) what the patterns of scripts has been for it in my clinical commissioning group (of 20 practices in north/north-east Nottingham) and see the reduction over the past year – physicians were clearly alerted to the “pregabalin problem” at about the same time I was (via internal sources) and a year before the media picked up on it. But Hucknall General Practice remains a (huge) outlier. Hucknall is different because it is disproportionately dominated by former miners put out of work by neoliberalism – maybe the rate of neuropathic pain IS a lot higher, in which case pregabalin may be indicated. Maybe, on the other hand, docs there hand it out like sweeties as the “quickest way to get anxious patients off my hands” – if the latter, the authorities are going to come down on them – hard. What will those patients with “no life” do then? They must become the latest guinea pigs, shuttling back and forth with an already intolerably overburdened mental health trust to try different SSRIs/SNRIs/etc.

          Longitudinal studies and larger RCTs stratifying on a variety of attitudes/covariates are needed. To the credit of NICE, whose “stepped care ladder approach” might be expected to be very rigid is, to my pleasant surprise, quite flexibile in terms of taking preferences into account. But whilst that is all very well at the national level, in a world with insufficient funding, local CCGs are clamping down, on the basis of flimsy/non-existent evidence – potentially throwing out the baby with the bathwater. We need studies that use Yves’s quoted rule in larger studies that look at patient subgroups, if we are to decide that either (1) it’s rubbish, full stop; (2) It’s of no benefit overall but has benefits in some subgroups about which we have yet to fully understand, or (3) It has benefit in subgroups x, y, z with these indications and otherwise don’t touch it. Horribly complicated. But my basic point is the same as Yves’s – this study doesn’t cut the mustard (do a power calculation using one of many online calculators using projected success rates), and better, larger studies, looking at subgroups if suspected, are needed.

  19. jgordon

    “The ‘masculine mystique’” article was incredible. The headline inside asks the important question–why do men still feel like they have to be strong, dominant, and successful? and then goes on to showcase weak, submissive and unsuccessful men that women everywhere must be swooning over. It’s hard to say if these fantastic men will be able to remain in a stable relationship considering all the attention from women they must get. We can only hope.

    The above aside however, it’s important to reiterate that race and gender are mere social constructs created by the white male patriarchy to oppress unprivliged minorities. If any of these ‘men’ in the article feel that the role society assigned to them does not match who they really are, the easy solution is for them to look within and realize that they may really be women after all.

    After that, with a good conscience, they can reveal to the world that they are in fact women and have been women all along, as I have already done, and everything will be well. This is very reasonable because gender roles, gender, and race are all fictitious social constructs created by the patriarchy to categorize, exclude, and oppress the other. Only by breaking free from these constructs, these chains, that society has constricted us with and proclaiming proudly who we are can society progress.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Thanks for this, let me put that unfortunate appendage Nature mistakenly provided me into the V of my Bible and slam it shut a few times to convince it to go away, I’ll have those pendulous protuberances below it removed so they do not emit any more of that toxic testosterone substance that apparently represents such an existential threat to humanity. We’ll move to a bright new future where babies on one team get it sewn shut and on the other team get it lopped off, it will be so much less disruptive to have everyone look and act exactly the same, we can dispense with all of those messy courtship rituals and just procreate the species in a laboratory.
      (I would say “now removes tongue from cheek” but I’m afraid that phrase might “trigger” someone with its graphic imagery)

    2. Lee

      I tend to agree where we as a species are heading but not necessarily as to where we have come from. The biological math is quite simple. So far as the evolutionary imperative of survival of the species is concerned, men are very much more expendable than women. Therefore, men have been assigned by their biology to take greater physical risks in the world at large than women, while women were reserved for the harrowing risks of childbirth.

      No longer in danger of extinction risks attendant upon small population size, we are, through cultural choices, escaping a good number of limited possibilities as previously determined by our evolutionary past. It’s hard to know with certainty to what extent gender proclivities are driven by biology or culture, particularly since controlled experiments on humans in this regard are practically impossible, nor even ethically desirable. I hope I’m not misunderstood; I am glad for the erasure of socially determined gender roles. But we must be a bit understanding of those who are uncomfortable with it so long as they are deprived of the power to enforce their preference upon others.

      1. witters

        “I am glad for the erasure of socially determined gender roles” – So what do we replace the socially determined gender with? A non-socially determined one? And would that mean, ridiculously, “individual choice free from any and all things socially determined”?

      2. Oregoncharles

        Hormones have consequences, and they won’t stop having them any time soon.

        “No longer in danger of extinction risks attendant upon small population size” – been reading the news? We could be back there, either quickly or more slowly, most any day.

        1. Lee

          The vast proportion of us are adapted to and dependent upon being members of large populations. Although it is likely that for much of our evolutionary history we lived in smaller groups, if we were now reduced to post apocalyptic population sizes and technical capabilities, it is likely our species would go extinct for lack of the skills, experience and teachings appropriate for smaller groups. At the other end of the spectrum, we may well achieve extinction by way of having become too numerous. Quite a pickle!

          1. jgordon

            I’d bet on cock-roaches going extinct before people do. Our paricular iteration of homo sapien here in the West may have hit an evolutionary dead end with our cultural and genetic extinction on the horizon, but I’m willing to bet on the Chinese, with their extreme cohesion/xenophobia, higher average IQ (of 105) than whites in the West (IQ 100), and successful history of surviving horrid, incessant privation–as a people who will survive intact no matter what happens.

            I will agree that we in the West are pretty much done for though, aside from a few pockets of preppers who will eek out a subsistence existence. Personally I’m planning to marry a rich Chinese girl who doesn’t mind the fact that I’m a transgendered lesbian while the rest of you all in America will be dealing with the migrant tide. All those populations who have been genetically weakened by welfare social program engineering, good luck trying to survive that.

            1. Ned

              “planning to marry a rich Chinese girl who doesn’t mind the fact that I’m a transgendered lesbian…”

              “One hour after eating, hungry again.”

          2. tony

            There are some 500 million small farms in the world, so probably 1-2 billion people who have the basic skills to survive outside the industrial society. Millions of people live with no real contact with the industrial world, such as the villagers of Siberia.

  20. DJG

    Thanks for highlighting the situation in Lesvos with the article from Der Spiegel:

    [two info-rich paragraphs therein:] Marios Kaleas, head of the asylum bureau on Lesbos, provided detailed statistics regarding the work of his agency in a telephone conversation with DER SPIEGEL. He said that he has only 37 Greek officials at his disposal, along with 100 assistants provided by the EU. Every week, they register 350 asylum applications and carry out 150 interviews. But they have been overwhelmed by the number of new arrivals, with up to 100 coming each day.

    Kaleas is also openly skeptical of the EU-Turkey deal. “My colleagues and I don’t want a single person sent back to Turkey” if there is any potential danger for them there or if they will simply be deported to the country he fled from, he says. In those cases, he says, Turkey should not be considered a safe country of origin. “When Afghans or Iraqis are sent back, Turkey just deports them,” Kaleas says by way of example. [end]

    Aside from the daily arrivals, they are trying to dispose of the cases of some 7,000 refugess stuck on the island. And the current situation mainly means getting them to the Greek mainland, because they can’t go to northern Europe.

    I should be thankful that I had the wherewithal to get to Athens for a brief stay in February: And as this article points out, and as is obvious from even a brief stay in Athens, the Greeks know things that the rest of the Western world is still in denial over.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Holy moly, Der Spiegel committed journalism with that piece.

      I thought homelessness in the Seattle area was horrendous (and it is), but that piece about Lesbos was simply frightful. Even if the Greeks bring in cruise ships to house 8,000 migrants, the cultural and economic complications are huge.
      It’s hard to really know who those refugees really are, after so many years of war.

      I’m not sure quite how that Der Spiegel article about thousands of Syrian/Afghan/Iranians stranded in a filthy slum on Lesbos fits in with Merkel’s recent electoral problems, but it’s a safe bet that there are multiple connections. For starters, the article highlights a young, military-age Syrian hoping to make it to Germany, where his multiple siblings live. Merkel’s damned if he comes, and damned if he doesn’t.
      Interesting times, indeed.

  21. wombat

    Oh my:

    “Do you want to send a message to Washington that you aren’t going to buy into their racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic and classist nonsense for one second longer?”

    “Hillary Clinton is the Winston Churchill to Vladimir Putin’s Adolf Hitler.”

    “(and anyone who believes Clinton did something wrong in the Uranium One deal lacks credibility on all matters political) “

    1. Massinissa

      Wow. At first I thought that last line was a sarcastic remark you added. But its really in the article.

      Good god.

      1. Lee

        Winston was good at and even perhaps addicted to a state of war; peace, he couldn’t handle so well. Admittedly, not all of his wartime decisions were good ones. Such people are useful at times, but should they really be running the whole show all of the time? The British electorate didn’t think so. The wisdom of crowds sometimes gets it right.

        1. Ned

          Most appropriate Churchill commentary on Hillary from the Democrats point of view:

          “Madame, tomorrow I shall be sober, but you will still be ugly.”

    2. flora

      “Hillary Clinton is the Winston Churchill…”

      omg. So Hillary is really the war candidate. I can tell you that flyover country is god damn sick and tired of wars that never end, and of sending soldiers who are left to burn up, burn out, and end up disregarded. Anyone check the overlays of maps of drug deaths with maps of enlistment personnels’ home locations? No, I didn’t think so. Any chance Bill Clinton (who “avoided” the Vietnam War draft) is going to enlist? No, I didn’t think so.

      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        Anyone check the overlays of maps of drug deaths with maps of enlistment personnels’ home locations? No, I didn’t think so.

        Probably long overdue.

        1. flora

          adding: imo, It was disgust with the Dem party’s prosecution of the Vietnam War that brought the 3rd Way, neolib Dem insurgents to power. (by discrediting the old New Deal coalition politics as unfit for purpose for the new 1960’s times.) Now, it may be the disgust with endless ME wars that becomes the undoing of the current neolib Dem estab.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Winston was much smarter than Hillary, a vastly better public speaker and writer, willing to take responsibility for his bad decisions (Gallipoli) and spent nearly a decade in the wilderness as a backbencher when among other things he kept issuing warnings about Nazi Germany when the British aristocracy, enamored of a Germany with which they could do business, wanted to hear nothing of it.

        Churchill would be spinning in his grave at this insulting comparison.

        1. flora

          Yes. The Salon piece might be extra dry snark. It lists in short order all the things I found most annoying about Hillary’s campaign and all the things I find most annoying about her “not my fault” post election book tour.

      3. Waking Up

        You piqued my curiosity on this matter. I found this map at Business Insider on military enlistment rates by state:

        Then I found a map of America’s drug overdose epidemic at the Guardian:

        It’s interesting that Utah has 3 to 4 enlisted personnel per 1,000 18 to 24 year olds. Yet, they are obviously having a large number of deaths from opioid use. What is going on in Utah?

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      “Do you want to send a message to Washington that you aren’t going to buy into their racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic and classist nonsense for one second longer?”

      Then don’t vote for the wife of a serial rapist, who is on record for decades attacking any and all accusers which might derail his (and her) will to power.

    4. WheresOurTeddy

      This article has gotten a lot of heat, but I’ll defend one part of it.

      Hillary Clinton IS like Winston Churchill, in that…

      Hillary is to Haiti, Honduras, Lybia, and Syra what Churchill was to Africa and then-British possessions in the ME.

  22. G

    Robert Fisk warns that the recent terrorist attacks in Egypt is a sign that ISIS is migrating once again to begin an offensive against al-Sisi. I think Fisk is right that there seems to be a consensus among even the most shrewd of mideast commentators (including Moon of Alabama, Escobar, Cockburn, American Conservative, etc) that ISIS is has been successfully defeated in Syria and Iraq. However, Fisk is the first I’ve seen talking about another possible ISIS uprising in the mid-east. He (probably correctly) notes that Egypt would have a lot more support by Western powers against rebels. Has anyone else seen any comments on the situation in Egypt? The terrorist attack the other day certainly seemed pretty significant.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It does look like the Egyptians are losing control of Sinai. Fisk mentions the French – the French still have a lot of influence in Egypt (they got their citizens out of Egyptian jails when other countries couldn’t or wouldn’t do it), but it would be interesting to see if Macron is as keen as his predecessors to get involved in what could be another Syria. The French are already overstretched in north Africa, as we’ve seen with Niger.

      The Egyptians are largely bankrolled by the Saudi’s, so it will be interesting to see how they get on with MbS. They have already wisely refused the Saudi’s ‘invitation’ to send their troops into Yemen. They will obviously have to play their cards right with the Saudi’s and other Gulf States to make sure Isis in Sinai don’t get the same flood of weapons the Syrian version got from their Gulf sponsors. I wonder if al-Sisi is pondering whether Syria proves that Russia/Iran are a more dependable ally against Isis than the Gulf States/US/Israel.

  23. Anon

    RE: Cute Dog & Cat Photos

    I appreciate the value pets bring to urban-caged humans. But dogs and cats in western wildlands are a no-no. I live and hike in these lands (Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, etc.—location of some of the photos) and urban pets and wildlife do not mix. In fact, the back-country ranger is likely to issue a citation and ask you to leave, forthwith.

    1. Wukchumni

      The only restriction on dogs is in the National Parks in the backcountry, you’re free to take fido wherever you’d like in the wilderness, otherwise.

      Saw a cat on a leash @ Saline hot springs earlier in the week, you’ve got to get a collar on them with a leash on life pretty pronto, within the 1st month of birth, the proud owner told me.

    2. kareninca

      The dog in the article – Henry – is only three years old; it says he was born in 2014. But he looks older than that to me. He is practically a puppy, but he looks like a middle aged dog. I think that that much traveling may stress some dogs out and age them.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I suspect his age was misrepresented when they got him. He was much bigger than his peers then,but not an especially large dog now. Note the picture of her carrying him. Not a 100-lb. dog.

        Wolves actually live the way they are; wolves in captivity live much longer than domestic dogs. Our half-wolf lived to almost 20.

        1. kareninca

          “I suspect his age was misrepresented when they got him.”

          Good point. I know that shelters fib about dog ages all the time. We adopted a corgi mix years ago; the shelter said he was ten. We knew better of course; it didn’t matter to us. Our vet told us he was 13 if he was a day. But it hadn’t occurred to me that a shelter would say that a dog was a puppy if it weren’t a puppy. I would have thought the behaviors would be different enough that you could tell. But probably not; maybe he was 2 y.o. then and he’s 5 y.o. now.

          But he looks even older than that to me; he looks kind of stressed if you look at the expression on his face, as if he feels responsible for the cat’s safety in a series of unfamiliar settings. Maybe I’m imagining.

  24. D

    Meanwhile Bezos hits a 100b and nary a peep says that’s too much, take it away!

    There should be no such thing as a billionaire.

    Truly, Eureka Springs, and no mention whatsoever about how many small businesses have gone under a sociopath’ government supported, publically subsidized desire to dominate everything and everyone, even Mars.

    Further there’s no mention of the addiction rife in the political and elite sectors. When I used to bother watching congressional hearings, I could have sworn most of the biggest blowhards were plastered, or on that blow. Would love to do an inventory of the alcohol in the mahogany

    And then there’s an hilarious comment somewhere above implying the vast majority of LandLORDS actually maintain there rentals in any humane manner, and don’t gouge, because The Market Will Bear IT, not the humans will bear it, and despite having only paid $30,000 but charging rents which equate to 600,000 mortgages. I thank God I have an absolutely wonderful landlord, but that is not at all the norm, from my decades of renting, he’s an exception to the rule, but then he’s not an apartment investor, which is a whole different beast.

    Anyway, I’m logging off, as a few of the above comments feel like they’re heading off to the homeless humor category, and I’m feeling sick now.

    1. VietnamVet

      You’d think that the five guys who own half the world’s wealth including the owner of the Washington Post might consider the plight of the Saudi Princes who are having their fingernails pulled by Blackwater mercenaries in order to transfer their wealth to the King’s son. Obeying the law and paying taxes to the state would be less painful.

  25. Oregoncharles

    For some reason, in that Antidote I can see the wolf hidden under the short-haired coat and lopped ears.

    I think it’s the intent gaze.

    1. Lee

      Can you identify the breed of today’s particularly handsome critter? I know there are blue-eyed breeds but this one doesn’t seem to be one of them. A cross perhaps.

  26. Summer

    Risky stalemate as science battles human fears at Fukushima Associated Press

    There they go again, labeling questions about a science as “fears”…an emotion that needs to be addressed, not any fault with the science.

    The unanswered question in this case being: they still haven’t figured out what to do with the waste that doesn’t involve endangering people. The only thing they have determined is what people can be sacrificed versus those they feel can not be sacrificed.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I love the part where they trucked tens of thousands of tons of contaminated soil to every prefecture to avoid triggering action required by law if one prefecture had higher background radiation levels than others

  27. Summer

    Can’t Wait Until Payday? Apps Give Instant Access to Wages Wall Street Journal…

    Has anyone presented a breakdown of the percentage of all of the alleged “high tech” that is devoted to financial and marketing services?

  28. Synoia

    Why wave power may be the next big thing in green energy

    Really? This quote from the article:

    The Lifesaver, as the device is known, is full of gears, cables, and sophisticated electronics.

    The sea is a hostile, dangerous and corrosive environment. Which equates to Maintaining the LifeSaver. It is either maintained at sea (horrible idea) or swapped with another one (which makes the connection for power the weak point).

    I’d be interested in the scenario for recovering from dropping a live power connector into the sea. Live because it’s connected to the grid.

    Land or sea based windmills appear to be a easier-to-maintain choice.

    One further reference: The Anaconda, by Francis Farley.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      I’d be interested in the scenario for recovering from dropping a live power connector into the sea. Live because it’s connected to the grid.

      A fuse???

  29. Ned

    About the GMO study, let’s pretend eating GMOs is “perfectly safe.” Avoiding pesticide use associated with GMOs would be better for the earth. The GMO traits cloned into the plants allow them to resist being drenched with weed killers, therefore far more Roundup is used than normal on such crops.
    Your children eat the weedkiller residue in utero or at the highchair or at the breakfast table.

    Also, organic crops cannot use GMO seeds or plants, therefore the other advantages of organics, such as increased soil fertility, lack of phosphate runoff creating dead zones of fertilizer runoff in the Mississippi delta, better income to farmers from organics versus conventionals would be yet another reason to avoid “perfectly safe GMOs”.

    Of course GMOs are not “perfectly safe”, nor are they “safe”, unless you believe Monsanto’s own in- house lab testing which is the ONLY testing ever done on the safety of these genetically manipulated foods.

    Corn bollworms’ insides disintegrate when they munch on GMO Bt corn, which has cloned into it, a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis soil bacteria that creates a protein that destroys insects insides so the bacteria can feed on their bodies. You eat the GMO corn and your own stomach flora create the protein that erodes your insides.

    What’s more credible, 500,000 years of mammalian co-evolution with unadulterated food, or a profit making corporations public relations claim about their twenty year old technology with zero peer reviewed science to back it up?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Stop being hysterical. You are accumulating troll points with comments like this

      We are not advocates of GMOs. But the fact that a study confirms your priors is no justification for giving it a free pass. That study is garbage.

    2. UserFriendly

      Which is why the billions of people who regularly eat GMO’s have all had their insides rot out with killer bacteria. Are there downsides to GMO’s? Sure there are.. Are they serious enough that billions of people can’t eat them daily with minimal side effects? obviously not.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Actually, since they aren’t labelled, it would be almost impossible to know.

        What illnesses are increasing? (Here’s one: autism, in a way that implies it’s environmental.)

        The point is not that GMO are causing it, but that we have no way to know, at least short of a very expensive epidemiological study. Does anyon eknow if that’s being done?

  30. freedeomny

    The dog and cat hiking pics – Amazing! I have a dog and a cat that grew up together and their shenanigans never stop making me laugh. But this is something to aspire to :)

  31. lambert strether

    > Why have the Tories brought Gove back from the dead? To kill him again

    “You know nothing, Michael Gove.”

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